Jun 07 2016

Review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Delivers Versatility, Security

Great processing power, built-in protection and handy tools for sharing make the Surface Pro 4 ready for professional users.

The Surface Pro 4 is a rare tablet, able to shift gracefully from a full-featured desktop computer for the office worker to a reliable portable for the road warrior.

The Pro 4 achieves this without greatly changing its form factor from the Pro 3 model, meaning most peripherals purchased for the Pro 3 will continue to serve the new core system. That could save a lot of money.

Most Surface Pro 4s come with either an Intel i5 or i7 chipset. My test unit had a 2.4-gigahertz i5, and nothing I threw at it slowed it down.

Photoshop documents, complex spreadsheets and even a CAD drawing all opened in just seconds, at speeds one might expect from a desktop computer. With an optional keyboard attached via a magnetic clip, the newest Surface Pro functions almost completely as a desktop, running a full version of Windows 10.

Multiple Hardware Upgrades 

Despite the increase in power, the new Surface Pro manages to improve functionality when used as a tablet, including superlong battery life to get though an eight-hour-plus workday.

A stylus pen is included, adding even greater functionality. The stylus’s precision on the touch-sensitive screen allows for sketching complex diagrams to share with other Surface Pro users, as well as serious note-taking during meetings.

Microsoft also upgraded the cameras. The user-facing camera is now a 5-megapixel model with a wide-angle lens — perfect for video conferencing.

The 8MP rear camera can capture detailed images with ease. A third camera hidden in the bezel increases security. The infrared model is part of the Windows Hello secure login program. Authorized users can introduce themselves to their tablet, and thereafter it will look for them, logging them in when it recognizes their face, or closing down when they do something like take a lunch break without logging off. In addition, because it’s infrared, it even works in dim and nearly dark environments.

Taken as a whole, the upgraded features and power of the Surface Pro 4 should help it fit into any business environment, from cutting-edge startups to more established firms.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Processor: Intel i5-6300U dual-core 2.4GHz CPU
Memory: 8GB RAM
Hard Drive: 256GB solid-state drive
Display: 12.3-inch PixelSense LCD touch screen
Dimensions: 7.9x11.5x0.03 inches
Weight: 1.73 pounds